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Beacon Senior News

The music in art and design

May 31, 2018 05:32AM ● By Anita Alexandra

Musical rhythm is the thread that ties together all the stanzas, bridges and choruses in a song. Rhythm in interior design is used to help our eyes move around a room in an organized manner. It takes individual design elements and ties them together through the use of lines, forms, colors and textures. Rhythm is one of the seven basic principles of interior design.

Rhythm in music and design are similar in nature. Consider the rhythmic beat of a song and interior design elements in a room. Your foot taps to a beat in much the same way that your eye bounces around a room to take in design elements. Successful music and successful design occur when elements come together to form a unified whole.

When you walk into a room that’s been professionally designed, you experience the general mood or tone before you consciously notice each item. You see the colors, textures, placements, shapes and accessories and how, in some magical way, it all fits together. The room itself has a type of rhythm.

According to Gestalt psychology, a school of thought that focuses on perception, our brains process information by boiling it down to the simplest recognizable pattern. This means that when entering a room, we register the basic tone before we can focus on any of its individual elements. The more quickly we can simplify the information presented to us, the more likely we are to find it aesthetically pleasing. Incorporating the principle of rhythm in interior design gives us a set of established patterns to fall back on and enables visitors to take in the room’s sensory information as easily as possible.

Here are five techniques that you can utilize to bring a sense of rhythm and movement to your interior spaces.


Repeat a continuous pattern throughout the space to create a sense of stability

Progression or gradation

Use a group of like objects that vary in size, creating a step-by-step progression to move the eye from one end of the space to the other


Allow a design element (usually a shape) to move the eye in an uninterrupted flow from one spot to another


This is created when one design element is in direct opposition to another, causing the eye to move back and forth between them<


Several design elements come together to form a balanced rotation around a central object

Music, art and design can all be used to tell stories. Art plays a huge role in the design of a room and in setting mood and tone. In some traditional design formulas, one might choose muted, rolling landscapes that resemble an adagio in a symphony. Modern art and design can give a room a more staccato or upbeat rhythm. A country scene may recall another set of tunes. The next time you’re in a room, play with the music. You might discover new ways to change the track to more accurately express your current preferences and tell a different story.